Children’s Books About Gardening

Spring is officially here and the weather has finally started warming up.  That means it’s time to get ready to garden!  Here is a collection of books that we’ve read recently in preparation.  This year we will be creating home-made earth boxes and doing some other container gardening, for lack of space.  If you need a little gardening inspiration, here are some children’s books that we recommend!

Board Books:

Planting a Rainbow by Louis Ehlert
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

This classic picture book is now in board book as well!  The child narrator describes the process of planting a rainbow, starting with bulbs, ordering seeds, selecting seedlings and watching and waiting for the rainbow to grow!  The end of the book contains layered pages with different colored flowers.  Each flower is named.  This book has simple text and bright, colorful pictures.

We borrowed this book from the library.


The Secret Garden:  A Flowers Primer by Jennifer Adams
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

This is a colorful board book for very young children.  It’s a great introduction to flowers, with bright,  beautifully illustrated, flowers.  Each set of pages names the flower and contains a quote.  It’s simple yet captivating.

*We read this book at the book store.

Fiction Picture Books:


The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Theodora, a.k.a. “Theo” visits her Poppa in his new apartment.  She loved the garden that he used to have at his old house.  While it’s too windy on his balcony for real flowers, she comes up with the idea to plant an imaginary garden.  Poppa buys a large canvas and the two spend time planning and then “planting” their garden.  My daughter felt “the story was just okay but the book has really pretty pictures of flowers.” I liked that the story focused on Theo and her Poppa sharing a memorable experience.  However,  I think even a city dweller with a balcony can have a small container garden and grow something.

*We borrowed this book from the library.


Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

In this picture book, Mr. McGreely is excited to plant a garden.  As his garden grows, three bunnies come and “visit” every night eating his vegetables.  First Mr. McGreely builds a small wire fence.  But when that doesn’t work he tries building a wooden wall and finally a fortress around the garden.  He finally outsmarts those bunnies…..or hasn’t he?!!  This was an okay read for us.  Unfortunately, I can relate, but have to fight deer, instead of bunnies!

*We borrowed this book from the library.


Strega Nona’s Harvest by Tomie dePaola
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tomie dePaola brings back Strega Nona and Big Anthony in this picture book about gardening.  It is spring and Strega Nona takes out her seeds and gets ready plant this year’s garden.  She has special methods of gardening, including never planting seeds in the same spot, waiting until the full moon to plant the garden and singing a special song.  Big Anthony decides that he’s secretly going to plant his own garden as well.  Strega Nona’s garden brings a bounty of vegetables which she stores for the winter.  But Big Anthony’s garden also does very well and he leaves piles of vegetables outside Strega Nona’s door each night.  The rest of the town’s gardens didn’t do so well, so Strega Nona delivers vegetables and holds a Harvest Feast for everyone.  At the end of the book though, she still doesn’t know who has been leaving all of the vegetables!  dePaola is a well-known children’s author, with many children being familiar with Strega Nona and Big Anthony.  This story is a bit lengthy for very young children, who may not have the attention span to sit through the entire book.  There are several Italian words used throughout the book, but unfortunately, with no pronunciation guide!

*We borrowed this book from the library.


Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

To help feed his hungry family, Hare comes up with a plan to become business partners with lazy Bear.  Hare and his family use Bear’s land to plant and harvest and the two split the profits.  This sounds agreeable to Bear until he discovers how sneaky Hare is.  When Bear gets tops and Hare gets bottoms Hare and his family get carrots, beets and radishes.  When Bear calls bottoms Hare gets lettuce, broccoli and celery.  This is a cute story that illustrates how different vegetables grow.

* We borrowed this book from the library.


The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

This picture book is narrated by a young girl who doesn’t like that her mother’s garden looks different than all of her neighbors’ gardens.  They all have pretty flowers while her family’s garden grows ugly vegetables.  But when her mother uses the vegetables to make a tasty smelling soup that has all the neighbors stopping by, the girl’s feelings about her mother’s garden changes.  The author includes a picture glossary of the ugly vegetables that includes their pronunciation, definition, and the names written in Chinese characters. There is also a recipe for Ugly Vegetable Soup.

*We borrowed this book from the library.

Non-Fiction Books:



Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a picture book biography about Will Allen, former professional basketball player turned farmer.  The book tells the story of how Allen took deserted greenhouses and turned them into a thriving garden.  He then went on to educate and teach others how to farm.  The book has an afterword that Allen giving young readers pointers in how they can help people around the world have “better, safer and healthier food to eat.”  He also invites them to visit Growing Power Farm, his urban farming project, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The illustrations and the text in this book teach kids about the importance of urban gardening in a fun and easy to understand way.  It shows how believing in something and hard work can pay off.  I had actually not heard of Will Allen until we read this book.

*We borrowed this book from the library.


Kid’s Container Gardening:  Year-round projects for inside and out by Cindy Krezel
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book starts with a quick introduction of what plants need to survive. Then, starting with spring, author Cindy Krezel provides four container gardening projects for each of the four seasons.  I liked that the list of supplies needed for each project was fairly short.  The directions for each project are simply written for kids  to follow, noting when parental assistance is needed.  A glossary of more advanced terms used in the book is provided at the end. Unfortunately, my daughter wasn’t interested in any of the projects and said she’d like to help  me when I do my gardening.


The School Garden:  Reason with Shapes and Their Attributes by Sebastian Avery
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This non-fiction book published by The Rosen Publishing Group is part of the Rosen Readers Common Core Math series.  This book focuses on geometry showing real-life application of skills needed to plan a garden.  The narrator describes the planning of a school garden.  Each class chooses a different size garden to plant and decides on different things to grow in their garden from flowers to vegetables to herbs.  Each set of pages shows how the garden is partitioned and uses fractions and different colors to illustrate.  The book has colorful  photographs and includes a glossary at the end.  This is a good book to reinforce fractions and shows how such skills are useful in “real life”  that can be used both at home or in the classroom.

*We borrowed this book from the library.

If you have any other recommendations for children’s books about gardening, please share in the comments section!  We are always on the look out for new books!

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: A Review

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Spring is here and it’s time to start thinking about planting a garden!  If you saw the size of our backyard, you would know why I would need to request a book titled The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden from Blogging for Books.  My dream is to one day have a yard large enough to have a gigantic garden.  Until that day, which will hopefully come, I will attempt to garden…..AGAIN.

This book is actually a revised edition of a book previously published forty years ago, with added information on heirloom vegetable gardening.  It’s sold over 500,000 copies and I can see why.

In the whole scheme of gardening I am definitely a novice.  This book is a great resource for novice gardeners like myself.  Chapter 1 begins with planning out a garden.  It covers everything from where you should plant your garden to how many plants you will need based on the number of people you plan on feeding.  It also provides sample garden plans for different sized gardens using different types of vegetables, flowers and herbs.  Other chapters include creating an optimal soil mixture, when and how to plant different vegetables and watering the garden once you’ve planted it.  Newcomb also provides information on plants and herbs that work well together as well as pest and critter control.  The majority of the book consists of detailed information about specific vegetables.  Newcomb rates the vegetables, noting which ones work especially well in small-sized gardens.  She also gives information planting the specific vegetable, recommended varieties, typical problems you may encounter growing that vegetable, and harvesting and storage tips.

This book provided a wealth of information to me, as a beginning gardener.  Although not necessary, I think photographs would have enhanced the enjoyment of this book.   After reading this book, in lieu of an actual garden, my goal this year is to have success with container gardening.  Stay tuned for updates as I start planning!

*Disclosure:  I received this book from Blogging for Books.  However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.